cut of one's jib

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Different shapes of jib sails.

From maritime traditions, alluding to the identification of far-off ships by the shape of their sails, as in the Naval Chronicles (1805) “From the cut of her sails an enemy.” Used idiomatically of a person from early 19th century, attested 1824, possibly influenced by similarity of triangular jib sails to a person’s nose.[1]

Noun[edit]

cut of one's jib (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) A person's general appearance, manner, or style.
    • 1824, Walter Scott, St. Ronan's Well:[1]
      If she disliked what the sailor calls the cut of their jib.
    • 1896, Robert Barr, A Woman Intervenes, ch. 8:
      I have seen that girl on the deck, and I like the cut of her jib. I like the way she walks. Her independence suits me.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 16:
      Though a well preserved man of no little stamina, if a trifle prone to baldness, there was something spurious in the cut of his jib that suggested a jail delivery.
    • 2003, Ted Bell, Hawke: A Novel, ISBN 9780743466691, p. 278:
      "You don't like me much, do you?"
      "Let's just say I don't like the cut of your jib, Mr. Tate."
    • 2013, Matthew Berry, Fantasy Focus Football:
      "It's so frustrating, I mean, Cordarrelle Patterson, I really like the cut of his jib!"

Usage notes[edit]

Often used in form “to like the cut of someone’s jib”, as in “I like the cut of your jib.”

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cut of your jib”, The Phrase Finder, Gary Martin.